I’ve been hearing all day from mutual friends. I did not know him, but many readers/friends did — or know one of his sons, frequently the one who is a priest in the area.
Thank you so much for posting Mr. Vander Woude’s obituary on the corner today. I knew him and his children when I was a student at Christendom and the news of his death was quite shocking. However, I am glad to think that the life of this good man will be known to an even wider community than the one who so humbly served.
That Post story on Tom Vander Woude, as good as it is, doesn’t (couldn’t really) do the man justice.
Tom was the type of person who you could tell the Holy Spirit was not just working through but living in.
I am not exaggerating when I write that Tom and his wife Mary Ellen are the gold standard for spouses, parents, grandparents, Catholics, citizens, and people.
Though I only knew him for a couple of years (he lived in the same town as me, his grandchildren go to school with my kids, and I helped him out with a project at our parish), I believe that he was truly a living saint.
What Tom did for his beloved son Joseph he would have done for a stranger.
While we should continue praying for the repose of his soul, the recovery of Joseph and the consolation of his remarkable wife and family, I found myself saying after Mass this morning: Tom Vander Woude, ora pro nobis.
And I believe that he will.
And many grateful e-mails from folks who (like me) did not know him but are inspired by his faith and love of family. And, to borrow a phrase, his servant’s heart. So many NRO readers’ prayers go out to his family in their grief and struggles.